The Orange Order is pressing for the PSNI to have a rethink of the need for police officers to declare their membership of the organisation.
The March edition of the Orange Standard – the official publication of the Orange Order – runs an article citing a submitted paper from the Grand Orange Lodge to the PSNI which claims that “the requirement for serving police officers in the PSNI to register their membership or otherwise of certain organisations – including the Orange Institution – is highly flawed and untenable”.
ACC Mark Hamilton on Sunday confirmed that the PSNI is currently undertaking an external consultation on the list of organisations which are specified in its Policy on Notifiable Memberships.
According to the article ‘since 2000 and emanating from the Patten report members of the Orange Institution as well as the Black Perceptory, Apprentice Boys, Independent Orange Order, Freemasons, Ancient Order of Hibernians and Knights of Columbanus employed as police officers have been required to declare their association with any of the respective groups’.
But the Grand Orange Lodge submission claims that “either a much broader list for all organisations in society must exist or no organisation’s members should be forced into self-notify”.
In the paper the Orange Order also argues that the clause calling for the notification of membership “perceived to draw from one religious community and which are perceived to have a political agenda” should “catch more than the seven organisations listed”.
It also argues that “using this rationale the GAA should also be a candidate”.
The Orange Order also claims: “We believe that the entire requirement is wrong and no membership of a legal organisation should be required unless an officer decides it is worthy of registration as a matter of personal conscience.”